Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sweet, and Hot, and Indian Spiced, Red Corn Ice Cream Perfect for Summer Cookouts.

   There is nothing that says the hot weather is here like the taste of homemade, fresh churned ice cream. One of the best investments in cooking equipment I ever made was buying an ice cream machine. I have worked that thing to death and it's still going strong. It gets so much use in the Summer months around here that I actually bought another bigger machine to keep it company. Homemade ice cream is fast and easy and one of the few desserts that almost no one can refuse. Don't eat dairy? It can be made with coconut milk, and when cooking for gluten-free friends, it's an allowed indulgence.
  
   I veered from my vegan diet a few months ago when I was doing chemo. I was anemic from treatment and advised to add more protein to my diet, and so I did, just a bit. Now that I'm done, I'm still taking iron pills everyday and getting back to regular vegan fair, but sometimes I'm just plain vegetarian and that's where the ice cream comes in. One of the best things about doing your own cooking is having control over what goes into ones food and one of the clearest examples of that is ice cream. Fresh organic milk, fresh organic cream, sugar, and pure vanilla. That's it. No gums or fillers, or fake flavors, just the real deal.
 
   So, when I set out to make some plain vanilla ice cream the other day I got distracted by something I'd only seen once before at my local Whole Foods market and that's organic red corn. Not wanting to repeat my loss of fresh garbanzos a few weeks ago, I didn't wait. I  jumped on that corn like a starving locust and then once I got it home I kept wondering how it would be in ice cream. I've made sweet corn ice cream before and I've even used red corn before in Red Corn and Radish Sprout Salad with Peanut Chili Dressing so I wondered how I could use my red corn and make a different sort of ice cream.Could I take an Indian spice rub used for grill roasted corn and add a  few things and come up with an ice cream? You bet I could, and I did just that. You can too.

Indian Spiced Roast Red Corn Ice Cream


Here's What You Need:
2 cups organic whole milk
2 cups organic heavy cream
3/4 cup of sugar
2 ears of fresh red corn, (or regular corn)
2 whole limes
salt to taste
2 pinches of cardamom
1 tsp of Kashmiri chili
2 tsp vanilla
1 generous pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of sugar

Here's What To Do:
Wash and shuck the whole ears of corn.


Cut the ears in half.


Roast them on a grill until they are soft and slightly charred.

Cut the limes in half. Put the Kashmiri chili in a small bowl. Dip the halved limes into the chili.


Rub the chili-coated limes on the ears of corn while squeezing to get the juice out.


Like so.

The corn should be coated in chili and lime juice.


Sprinkle a bit of salt on the ears of corn.


Cut the kernels off of the corn ears and place them in a bowl.


Add two pinches of cardamom...


...a generous pinch of cinnamon and a couple of pinches of sugar, and a touch more salt.


Stir everything together and check for taste. This is up to you as to how how or sweet or hot you want this. When it's seasoned to your satisfaction set it aside.
Add the milk, cream, and sugar to a large bowl.
Stir everything around until it's well mixed.
Add in 2 tsps of vanilla.


Pour everything into an ice cream machine.


Churn for about 30 minutes.
Scoop out the ice cream and put it into a freezer container and into the freezer for an hour or two to firm up.


Then serve it up.


Sweet, with a touch of heat and the wonderful flavors of cardamom and cinnamon.


   The red corn adds a faintly pink color to the ice cream, and the sweet hot chewy corn kernels are the perfect addition. This recipe of course will work with any color corn, but if you're lucky enough to run across red corn, grab some. You won't regret it. Coming up next, as I get back to a normal appetite again I'm looking at Indian vegetable salads the perfect side or even main dish for Summer entertaining. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fast and Healthy, Spiced Roast Favas. You Snooze, You Lose.

       
   Somebody told me once years ago," if you miss something don't sweat it, it's not leaving the planet." That's a maxim I've always believed until a couple of weeks ago when I attempted to buy fresh garbanzo beans. I'd never seen fresh garbanzos before, though I'd heard of them, and when they showed up in my local Whole Foods Market, I was shocked. I wanted those garbanzos badly. I hadn't even been able to find them at the Organic Farmers Market, no matter how many times, I'd asked. Nobody seemed to know nothin', then, Bam! There they were right in front of me and like a dope I didn't buy any. My excuse was I didn't have the time that day to cook them, I figured I'd come back the next day and pick some up. After all they weren't leaving the planet, right? Wrong. After that day, I never saw them again. No matter how many people I asked, it was a lost cause. As fast as they appeared they were gone. It seemed they had left the planet. My plans for spiced, roast, fresh garbanzos seemed gone forever. It was my first time discovering that sometimes stuff actually does leave the planet. Then I thought, wait a minute, hold the phone, fava beans!
   
   Now, a lot of people have never tried fava beans. All they know about this delightful legume comes from Hannibal Lecter.

    
   
But this is fava bean season, and if you haven't tried them you really should. They're inexpensive, readily available, and delicious. So that's what I did. I bought some fresh fava beans and decided to pretend they were fresh garbanzos. After all a bean is a bean is a bean, right? Right. The recipe worked beautifully with favas, and would work with garbanzos, and yeah...fresh garbanzos too, if you are one of the  lucky people able to find them. This recipe can be made with frozen favas, but if you use fresh here's how to prep them no matter what you're using them for.


Spiced Roast Fava Beans

 

Here's What You Need:

1 lb of fava beans
3 Tbs of olive oil
3 Tbs of spice mix (your choice of mix, and I'll show you what I used)

Here's What To Do:

Wash the fava beans.


Shell the fava beans.


Boil some salted water in a pot. When it's boiled, toss the shelled favas into the boiling water for about 2 minutes.


Drain them.


 Plunge them into an ice water bath so that they stop cooking.

Take them out of the ice water, drain them and pop them out of their skins.


Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels, and place the skinned fava beans on it to thoroughly dry.
While they're drying, prep your spice mix. The spice mix, can be anything you'd like. Just think of the favas as popcorn and go from there. I decided to go with an Iranian spice mix,  called Advieh Khoresht  from Raw Spice Bar.


In case you've not heard of them, Raw Spice Bar is a company that delivers small batch, freshly ground spice blends to your door for 6 bucks a month. For that price they also give you about 3 or 4 spice blends from a given region, enough to be used in 3 dishes that serve between 8-12 people. They also include all the info on the spices and recipe cards that show you exactly how to use them.What could be easier? When they asked me if I'd like to try this out, of course I said yes!

I received 3 packets of spices used in Iranian dishes. Advieh Koresht is a blend of organic rose petals, cinnamon, green cardamom,angelica,Persian lime powder, coriander, cumin, and ground black pepper. These spices are traditionally used in bean stews, so I figured, bean stews, roast favas, how could I go wrong?

Once the favas are dry, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a flat cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the favas on it. Roast them in the oven for 15 minutes.


Then take them out, turn them over and roast for another 10 minutes. The favas should be nice and crispy.
In a bowl mix together 3 Tbs of olive oil and 3 Tbs of spice mix.

Mix the oil and spices together then add the roast favas...


...and stir them around well to coat them.


Pop the coated favas back into the oven for another 4 minutes. Then take them out, sprinkle with kosher salt to taste, and serve them up.

Sweet, and savory , these favas make a wonderful party snack, fast, simple, tasty, and healthy. Try this with favas, try this with chickpeas, try it with peas, and if you can find fresh garbanzos, definitely try this with them.
 
   Coming up next, having learned my lesson with the fresh garbanzos, I saw  organic red corn, and rather than waiting, I bought some, sure enough today it was gone! So I learned my lesson, you snooze, you lose. What do I have planned? Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fast Food For Hot Days, Watermelon Feta Salad With Balsamic Glaze.

   The last few days up here in Sonoma we've been enjoying marine layers (fog) every morning, mild daytime temperatures, and then chilly evenings. However, a couple of days before that we had some scorchers and the temperatures were up into the 90's. That's when the watermelons started to call my name. Normally, I don't buy a lot of watermelons. The last thing I want to deal with during the course of a hot sweaty day is being a watermelon wrangler. Then I saw them. Mini watermelons, or at least as mini as a watermelon can get.


   I thought I'd try something I'd read about, yet had never made, a watermelon and feta salad. How simple is that? How fast is that? How not heating up the kitchen on a hot, hot day is that? It was perfect. I just finished chemo two weeks ago and am starting to get my cooking energy back again, also my appetite. The one thing chemo is not, is an appetite stimulant for more reasons than I can say. But now, food is starting to look good again and strange cravings are starting to kick in, so I'm trying to eat what appeals to me. In this case, it's watermelon.
  
   So I tucked my melon, which was the size of a small head, under my arm, and headed off to turn it into lunch. What I found out was there are a LOT of watermelon salad recipes out there. Some call for olives, some call for red onions, I was looking for something super, super simple, which is what I found.The recipe is courtesy of Epicurious, and it's one of the easiest things ever. Ideal for someone like me getting back to eating.
 

Watermelon Feta Salad With Balsamic Glaze


Here's What You Need:
1 small watermelon,  8 cups cubed
7 oz feta cheese crumbled
15 oz field greens or baby arugala
2 Tbs balsamic glaze
a few mint leaves finely chopped

Here's What To Do: 
Slice the watermelon.


Trim off the rind. Now, this can be made into a delicious pickle, but not today, that's for another day.


Cut the watermelon into cubes.


Put the cubes into a bowl and set them aside.


Place the greens on a platter, and top them with the watermelon cubes.


Crumble the feta cheese over the watermelon cubes.


Tear a few mint leaves and sprinkle them over the watermelon and feta cheese.


Drizzle with 2 or 3 Tbs of balsamic glaze *
*How to make balsamic glaze.
Put 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pan and heat it until it boils and then simmer until the vinegar is reduced. This should take about 10 minutes or so. When it starts to reduce, it's done.


Give it a few turns of a pepper mill and you're done. Serve it up! Sweet, salty, and juicy this salad is a real winner and perfect for all your Summer entertaining.

    Make this and serve it right away, as this is not one to keep sitting around. Fortunately it comes together so quickly you can get it on the table super fast. Coming up next, I'm still waiting on those fresh garbanzos to arrive. In the mean time, fresh spring vegetables take an Indian twist. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Italian Classic gets a Twist. Pan Fried Baby Artichokes With Indian Spices

  
   This time of year, baby artichokes are all the rage. Well, I don't know exactly how much they're raging, but I seem to be seeing them everywhere. Being of Northern Italian ancestry, I grew up eating fried artichokes, and they're a standard of Italian cuisine. So, when I noticed them at Whole Foods the other day, I started wondering how they'd be prepared with Indian spices and a yogurt chili dipping sauce. Actually, I set out looking for those fresh garbanzos I couldn't seem to get my mitts on the other day, and was kicking myself around the block that I just didn't snap them up when I saw them. Ah well, you snooze you lose I guess also applies to garbanzos. Who knew?
 
   The way I saw it, tasty bites of gluten free breaded chicken as prepared in Chicken 65 would be no different texture wise than tasty bits of springtime baby artichokes once they were rolled in a spiced batter, and just as good. I was right. So, if you see pretty baby artichokes, don't just pass them by. Try this very simple fast recipe for a great finger food.

Pan Fried Baby Artichokes With Chili Yogurt Dipping Sauce


Here's What You Need:

12 Baby artichokes
2 cups of buttermilk
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup of white rice flour
a pinch of kashmiri chili
olive or vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of garam masala
1/2 cup of thick yogurt ( I use Greek yogurt)
1 tsp of Kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
salt to taste
fresh chopped cilantro

Here's What To Do:

Gather your baby artichokes. I chose these purple ones because of color.

Pour 2 cups of buttermilk into a bowl. Set it aside.


Cut off the stems of the artichokes, then peel away the dark tough outer leaves. We're not going to be eating those as we're not goats.


Cut off the pointy tops of the artichokes, then split them lengthwise.


Place the cut artichokes into the bowl of buttermilk and let them soak for about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, in another bowl mix together the sorghum flour...


...the white rice flour...


...the salt...


...and garam masala.


Add in a pinch of Kashmiri chili.


Mix everything together well and set it aside. 

NOTE: this recipe can also be made non gluten free just use 1 cup of regular flour.

Pour about 1/2 inch of the vegetable or olive oil into a skillet or kadai. Turn the heat to medium high. When the oil is nice and hot, (it appears to ripple) take the artichokes out of the buttermilk and dip them into the flour spice mixture.


When they are thoroughly coated, place them carefully into the hot oil.


Make sure you don't crowd them, you may need to fry them in batches. Fry them gently, about 2 minutes on each side, until they're nicely browned and crispy.
When they're done, place them on a paper towel to drain and sprinkle them with sea salt.


Set them out and prepare the Dipping sauce.


Whip together, the yogurt, Kashmiri chili, cumin, and coriander. Place the dipping sauce in a bowl, sprinkle the artichokes with chopped fresh cilantro, sprinkle some more on top of the dipping sauce and serve them up!


   These tasty crispy 'chokes, once dipped have a nice fiery kick. Serve them with a nice Indian beer, or a chilled Chai. Throw them to your guests and stand back!  Coming up next, how to fix a vegetarian dish with the cheapest and one of the healthiest vegetables ever, sometimes it's even free. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori   

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